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Tightening Economy Creates Legal Work

By wmadministrator

Amid slower growth, state’stop attorneys foresee mergers, protection of assets


“The growth of the University of Kentucky, especially the medical megaplex, will continue to be a major economic stimulant for Central Kentucky. Sometime in the spring of this year, it will occur to us that there is no reason for a housing slump in Kentucky – except for too many people reading too much of the national press. With the proliferation of attractive start-up companies, primarily coming from UK and U of L research, I expect to see an increase in the availability and commitment of venture capital in Kentucky in the coming year.”

“New construction projects and increased tourism are a permanent part of the commonwealth’s economic landscape. We will see more tax revenues and employment opportunities as businesses continue to grow in 2008. I see the commonwealth continuing to require legal expertise in the areas of mergers and acquisitions, real estate, commercial transactions, intellectual property and environmental law.

“Louisville, Lexington and Northern Kentucky (“The Golden Triangle”) will experience moderate growth in 2008. Their central (national) location and positive business climate are attractive targets for business expansion and development.

“The entire commonwealth will reap the benefits of hosting the Ryder Cup in 2008 in Louisville with a potential impact of $115 million, and the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games in 2010 in Lexington with an estimated economic impact to Kentucky in excess of $100 million.  Northern Kentucky will also benefit from the $800 million Ovation project in Newport.

“There is also no doubt that major building projects in Louisville, like Museum Plaza, the expansion of Fourth Street Live, the downtown arena, the Ohio River Bridges Project, and $330 million investment in the Haymarket site for the University of Louisville’s life-sciences research campus and other major developments are going to bring Louisville and the region into a new era of economic prosperity and contribute to an increased demand for legal services.”

The legal and business outlook in Louisville and the greater metro Louisville area for the year 2008 is quite bright. While the general economy throughout the nation may be concerned about recession, the construction of new buildings in Louisville, including Museum Plaza and the new arena, as well as other inner city condominiums, indicate that the economy in Louisville remains strong. The legal profession is blessed with advances in technology both in law firms and in the courtrooms so that cases are handled and resolved in an efficient and cost effective manner. As a firm that has existed in Louisville for many decades, we believe that the year 2008 will prove to be challenging and that the issues that our firm will be involved in will be unique and interesting.

“Despite recent declines in the U.S. economy, the outlook for business in Kentucky remains solid. Within the legal profession, this national economic downturn will likely result in a slowdown for transactional and real estate practices. At the same time, litigation is likely to pick up as business litigants use legal counsel to protect scarce assets or enhance competitive advantages. Employment and personal injury litigants will continue to find their way to the courthouse.”

“While the outlook for the business environment was very optimistic for 2007, I expect the business environment for 2008 to include considerable belt-tightening with increased acquisition activity of troubled companies throughout the year. As in any business downturn, we can expect an increase in bankruptcies and in litigation.

“To maintain client satisfaction, the successful law firm (1) must understand the client’s business, (2) must focus on the client’s real needs (not imagined needs), and (3) must be committed to solving the client’s problems in the most efficient and timely manner. As in any year, business legal services goals will include corporate compliance and governance activities, development and implementation of an intellectual property strategy, controlled legal costs and mitigation of risks associated with that business, all of which will require the attention of outside legal counsel with sophisticated experience.”

“Recent headlines concerning Kentucky’s budget problems, slow economic growth in our state, and continued troubles in the financial and real estate markets all point to 2008 as presenting a challenging economic climate for business. Law firms will not be immune from these challenges, but those firms who offer a diverse practice mix, have a broad geographic footprint and stay true to core values of teamwork and selflessness will not only survive but may actually thrive in this more challenging climate. We see continued growth in patent prosecution and litigation, as businesses even more jealously protect their intellectual capital, as well as continued strength in the aviation and logistics sectors.”

“This is an exciting time for the commonwealth as we build on the foundation of our traditional industries and search for new opportunities that provide challenges for the legal community. However, it will also be trying times, considering the commonwealth’s current economic conditions. It will demand creativity on our part. The World Equestrian Games will showcase our equine industry and further enhance growth in the horse industry. Mining and related businesses continue to be major contributors to our economy, creating a need to address labor, health, energy, environmental and safety issues. An increase in research and development through our universities, health care facilities, and manufacturing industries creates a strong market for intellectual property services and support.”

“We anticipate another year of growth at Greenebaum. We expect our litigators to be fully engaged in defending consumer class actions arising from recent difficulties in the sub-prime mortgage market. Our corporate and environmental lawyers will be heavily invested in energy projects, particularly those involving Kentucky coal. Our expanding intellectual property and tax practices will see increasing needs for their sophisticated services and our clients will turn to our government affairs group for guidance due to a new administration. Greenebaum bankruptcy lawyers will continue to be involved in many of the most important Chapter 11 filings. Lastly, the firm’s long-term clients and those locating in the commonwealth will continue to rely on our employment lawyers, particularly for their expertise in class-action litigation and labor-management relations.

The current downturn in the housing market, coupled with tightening credit practices, will lead to significant legal ‘opportunities’ in 2008. Although the real estate market and its contingent legal professionals will continue to be hampered by the burgeoning credit crisis, the resulting foreclosure litigation and bankruptcy actions on both sides of the aisle will no doubt substantially increase for legal practitioners in those specialties. Against the backdrop of the 2010 Equestrian Games, the continued shift to in-fill development in downtown Lexington, together with much needed governmental incentives, will result in an expansion of downtown development opportunities. We will see growth in most areas of our practice and believe, like most, that the real estate slump and credit crunch will abate as the year progresses.”

“We remain bullish in 2008. Substantial clients are growing by acquisition. Health care facilities are being planned and built. Coal conversion technologies and facilities will result in jobs and legal work.
“Kentucky companies will increasingly look to foreign markets to take advantage of the declining value of the dollar against most major foreign currencies.
“In Louisville, clients are making significant investments in downtown housing, office and entertainment facilities, with major construction projects underway.”